Chapter One: "Help save Brooklyn... in Helsinki"
Not so long ago someone asked me, why do I complain, when we make "thousands and thousands of Euros" in this or that event? Thousands and thousands sounds like "a lot", and if your company makes "a lot" of money, why complain then?
Yesterday our beloved neighbour Brooklyn Cafe has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money within 3 days to pay their tax and other debts. They describe their situation in a factful, clear and honest blog post ( https://medium.com/…/help-save-brooklyn-in-helsinki-597e28c… ). So far 163 people have donated (we did, too) but the goal is far from reach.
Now, if we look into the café almost any time of the day there will be people with their laptops, coffee and bagel or cupcake. Business goes well, one might think, especially if you see the prices. "What cost so much in a latte, when a kg coffee costs around 10 Euros?
They too make "thousands and thousands", but at the end of the month, the money slips to someone else's account.
Costs related to staff, rent and tax are a huge chunk for sure. Marketing would take money, but small businesses have very little means to put up efficient ads, besides using social media. We depend on our regular customers.
They are just one in many establishments having problems. For example, since 2015 at least 6 nice cafés/eateries/shops in the closest vicinity of our shop have closed. And even more if I take Iso Roba as well.
We see entrepreneurs work day after day, long (unpaid) hours in weekdays and weekends, often without a salary, sick leave and holidays to keep up their small businesses. They walk among us, although they keep it to themselves. Complaining is bad for business.
So far Feri's have no debt toward Vero, but being a small and vulnerable business, it can happen even to us as well. Nevertheless, we always see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we can just hope it isn't a fast train coming...
Our message: Please, support your local! They need it more than you know.
Chapter 2: The Happy News! 🌞
(26th, February) This is a good morning, indeed! Brooklyn Cafe has showed how the power of the "crowd" can save businesses!
So, it's time to cash in all the discounts you've earned by supporting them, but part of your support is when you don't, if you think about it.
There were some critical voices among the crowd, and rightly so. Some people have criticised, that the owners haven't seen the massive costs of their business. Good point, and makes sense in a world where everything is logical and planned to the last pin.
Small entrepreneurs in food and restaurant business come from all walks of life, but it's safe to say that nobody knows "everything". We have our "super powers" where we excel and shine, while in other things we are (to say the least) mediocre or below, which means we fail, we must learn, or pay an expert to do the job (which we often cannot afford).
Chains have the money to keep experts (marketing, customer care, product development, logistics, accounting, etc.) on payroll, plan a marketing strategy 10 months ahead, while in businesses like Brooklyn Cafe or Feri's it's just us, two max. three people doing mostly everything, and plan max a few months ahead.
Finances are usually not our strong suit. Moreover, we all like to be "artists" where "passion is more important than money", we like to be goofy and bad ass and cool.
Remember the completely unsustainable MAKKARA tote bags, or beer we have at Feri's? We did those, and many more because we WANTED to have them, and kinda hoped that the stuff would pay itself back LoL. An economist would kill himself seeing the hubris, right? 🤣
Things are about to change for us, too. No more tote bag or beer, so if you're collector, get your Feri's beer until you can. 😎
If I was a journalist, I'd probably devoted a mid-sized article or 30 seconds air time in tv about this Brooklyn Cafe phenomenon, because it has interesting characters, heartbreaking drama, helpful strangers, sacrifice, humility, tears, joy and lots of coffee!
But this huge victory of this tiny business doesn't probably reach the mainstream media (shout out to Yle Uutiset).
Have a great day everyone!
Brooklyn Cafe's message on their Facebook page (26.2)
We have amazing news! Because of your generosity (whether through spreading the word or donating), our company has received so much exposure that it has gotten the attention of many who believe Brooklyn Café and Brooklyn Baking Co. is worth saving. We have been contacted by investors, accountants and other financial experts who have volunteered their services to further ensure the future of our company. The offers of support have been unimaginable.
A private investor was not only moved by witnessing an entire city come together to save a small business in such a short amount of time, but they were also motivated to evaluate the vitality of our company and its future. They validated that our existing business models are in fact profitable, and that debt elimination and working capital were and have always been our major obstacles. They believe in the quality of the products and our vision, but most importantly, they believe in our ability to persevere as entrepreneurs.
We’ve realized after discussing the payment deadline with the organizers from Mesenaati.fi. that even with reaching our goal, it is possible that the money will not be transferred in time to stop the bankruptcy. The private investor wanted to ensure the success of our campaign, so they have guaranteed the payment amount to Vero that will immediately end the bankruptcy. This means that all funds raised during this campaign will be used to pay off remaining debts!
Without further delay, we are happy to announce that because of the collective efforts of friends, family, customers and kind strangers- Brooklyn Café and Brooklyn Baking Co. will keep our doors open!
We believe, whether we reach the minimum goal or not, that we have already succeeded. We could have never imagined that our 8-year journey would lead us to this very moment. We have been re-energized by all your kindness and faith in us and the Brooklyn brand. Everything we have been working and hoping for over the years has been given to us in a matter of days. Thank you. Thank you from us, our team, our friends and the entire Todd family.
Not only will we keep our doors open, but this movement has secured our future for many years to come. We will become an OY (limited liability company…finally!) in the coming months, partner with trusted business experts, pay off all outstanding debt, but most importantly- we will continue to give you everything we’ve got.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Sharron & Brenda
Link to the campaign: https://mesenaatti.me/campaign/?id=1409#single/view